Rotary Club of East Jefferson County, Washington
Volume 2, Issue 10
October 2003
Solar ovens nourish Guatemalan families

A comfortable home and nourishing diet are two of the most basic needs in life. Here, we take them for granted. In Guatemala, more than a million families struggle to survive in deplorable, substandard living conditions.

In February, the Port Townsend Rotary is sending a team to Guatemala — and you are invited. The 16-day trip (Feb.7-22) provides an opportunity to work to improve the living conditions, learn about the culture, and meet the women who have received solar ovens thanks to your generous donations.

Since 2000, both the Port Townsend and East Jefferson County Rotary clubs have been funding a solar oven project (Central American Solar Energy Project) in San Lucas Toliman, Solola, Guatemala. There, the hot sun can easily raise the temperature inside a solar oven to 300 degrees.

Guatemalan women are taught how to diversify their maize-dependent diets.

The ovens each cost $100-$150 in a land where the average daily wage is $3 per day. (Schoolteachers make $5 a day.) The materials, obtained locally, include a stand, food preparation drawer, wheels and thermometer. Add the cost of instructors, transportation, and follow-up to the mix and the actual cost per family is about $300.

"The women build the ovens," Bill Howard explained. "These are women who have never held a hammer. At the end of two weeks, they have an oven." For it, they must pay $11. (Few things are truly valued if they are free.)

"If you don't have a solar oven, how do you prepare your meals?" Bill asked. "You build a fire in the corner (of your home) and you tend it." Mother and children inhale the smoke day after day, which explains why the number of respiratory problems is disproportionately high when compared to the rest of the world.

This young mother built her solar oven. Two weeks earlier, the oven was but a stack of wood and metal.

Bill, a Port Townsend Rotarian, is leading the group of 16 (maximum) as part of a Habitat for Humanity work adventure.

According to its Web site, "Hábitat para la Humanidad Guatemala (HPHG) is a private non-profit, housing ministry working to bring together people of all faiths and backgrounds to eliminate poverty housing in Guatemala. This is done through the building of simple, decent and affordable homes with families in need. Since its beginnings in 1979, HPHG has built more than 10,000 homes with an equal number of families. With an average of seven people in each home, more than 70,000 Guatemalans have changed their lives by partnering with Habitat."

(Thank you, Bill Howard, for the use of your photos!)


Upcoming Programs
Thursdays at noon
October 30
Club Assemblies

November 6
Bill Howard
Port Townsend Rotary to Guatemala

November 13
Not a clue

November 20
Mark Bowes
Emergency Preparedness

November 27
Happy Turkey Day!

District Leadership Training Assembly

The 2004 "Centennial Assembly" is being held March 26-27, at the Mary Winspear Centre in beautiful downtown Sidney, British Columbia.

For more info:
Shirley Walker, assembly chair
South Cowichan Rotary Club

"We could learn a lot from crayons: some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, some have weird names, and all are a different color — but they all have to learn to live in the same box."
Robert Fulghum

Click here to sign up!

Need a makeup? Try E-Club One

Rotary's first Internet-based club, "Rotary eClub One" (District 5450), has made it a goal to serve all Rotarians. The club has designated the ability for others to make up missed Rotary club meetings as its international service project. And, yes, the Rotary Club of East Jefferson County does honor a make-up through Rotary eClub One.

Chartered in January 2002, Rotary eClub One had had 8,000 make-ups before the printing of a June 2003 article in The Rotarian. The site now says more than 11,000 Rotarians have used its service.

Make-ups are made by reading one of the informational programs on the site and completing the make-up request form. On it, you'll discuss the program you read, including how it might relate to your home club's activities. You'll also be asked to suggest topics for future makeup programs.

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Sandy Hershelman Designs
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